Camp Island to NE Harbor-Maine 2

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Camp Island in the
Mount Desert Region

August 9-13, 2005

Anchorage: N44009.117  W068037.452

We maneuvered through sometimes thick fog in route to this beautiful anchorage. There were no lobster buoys to block our entrance and that was a big plus.  The anchorage was a little on the bumpy side during the day, because of the lobster boats going through, but the beauty outweighed any discomfort. The nights were calm enough for good sleeping and oh what marvelous temperatures. If the scenery wasn't enough, I could always call home to hear that the temperature was 100+ while we were enjoying the lower 70's.

We felt quite secure in our spot between Bold, Camp, and Devil Islands.  These islands are private but Hells Half Acre, in the middle of the three, is state-owned. It was a great place for island exploring and just simply enjoying nature. We shared the anchorage with sailboats, windjammers, and kayakers. Kayaking seems to be a big thing in Maine.


Stonington, Maine or How Low Can You Stoop?

Our Camp Island anchorage was about 1.5-2 miles from the town of Stonington on Deer Isle. In need of a few provisions, we took the dinghy into town one day. The first sight we had of the waterfront was of live crabs flying through the air. They were landing close enough to the dinghy to give us a good splash. It turns out that a game warden had boarded a professional fishing boat and apparently these fishermen weren't suppose to have crabs. I briefly thought about trying to catch a few as they were being tossed overboard.

According to the cruising guide, there is a grocery store on the Stonington waterfront but we couldn't find one. After walking the length of the town, we stopped in a small frame shop to ask about it. The proprietor & sole customer were both very friendly and helpful. They told us that the local store had closed some time ago and the only other store was about 4-5 miles out of town. The proprietor said that if she weren't the only one manning the shop, she would give us a lift because it was way too far to walk. The customer said that if we would wait for her to clean out the seat of her SUV she would give us a lift. Now, this is so against our nature but we were in real need of some items, so after a little hesitation, we accepted the lift. Not until we were there did we learn that the lady was not going to take us back. "Aw" she says, "When you get ready to head back, just stick out your thumb. Somebody will stop. It's a small town. Everybody knows everybody. It's perfectly safe."

Well, here we were miles from the waterfront. Much of the road was steep and we knew it would be a tough walk. But there was just no way I was going to hitch-hike. So after getting the supplies we needed, we headed out, on foot, for a long, tiring trek back to the waterfront.

Somewhere, many years ago, I read one of those etiquette things about a man should always walk closest to the road - with the woman on the inside. I liked the idea and since the early days of our marriage, Bob and I have always walked with him closest to the curb or street side. Well, I kept noticing on this occasion, that Bob was trying to stay to the inside, at times even gentle pushing me to the road side. After several confusing moments, it dawned on me that Bob wanted ME to do the thumbing. Now, I'm not saying that I would never do such a thing; but this was certainly not a situation that would cause me to do so.

I informed Bob, in no uncertain terms, that I WOULD NOT hitch a ride and took my inside position back from him. About that time, we heard engine noises behind us and Bob stuck out his thumb. A full-size pickup came to a quick halt only a few feet in front of us. I was shocked that it stopped. I was shocked that it was that easy to get a ride. I was shocked that people were so trusting of strangers. But I was totally blown away that Bob would actually thumb a ride. Never in my life could I have imagined it.

We took the ride and thoroughly enjoyed the company of the lobsterman who provided it. We learned a few interesting facts about the trade including the fact that "with diligence, a man can make six figures a year". This man had been lobstering most of his life, with his first license at the age of six.  Because he was so nice, I silently vowed not to talk bad about the guys that put all those lobster buoys out. I was able to keep that vow for at least the rest of that week.

Mackerel Cove, Swans Island
Mount Desert Region

August 14-16, 2005
Anchorage: N44010.193  W068026.096

There are so many beautiful islands and places to go in Maine that it is really tough making a decision as to which is best. Thanks to friends, Iris and Fred, who loaned us A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast, we had great information to base our decisions on.  This guide by Hank & Jan Taft is excellent. It has tons more information than any of the guides we have. Each anchorage (and there are hundreds) is rated for protection and for beauty. Additionally, Iris had made notes in the margins, giving their impression, on the places they had stopped.

After five nights at Camp Island, we made the decision to move nine miles to Mackerel Cove on Swans Island. This was not a very attractive anchorage when we arrived at low tide but by morning the tide was in and the anchorage took on a new look. It was still not as pretty as Camp Island but still quite nice. The best part was that there was almost no boat movement, making it a great anchorage. There was a cell-phone tower right on the shore and we had a great internet signal.

We dinghied over to  Swans Island one day, only to discover that there is not much of anything there. Despite the fact that there is ferry service to and from Bass Harbor, the island is definitely remote and we saw very few people. The temperature was perfect and the harbor view lovely, so we took a nice, long walk down the road before returning to the boat.

The temperature dropped to 570 before bedtime. I loved it but Bob was shivering. We left for Northeast Harbor on the 17th (see next update).

August 29-September 2, 2005

We returned to  Mackerel Cove on the 29th of August. Because of the great protection it was a very good place to wait for some bad weather to pass. We had a couple of really windy, rainy days. One night was so nasty that Bob anchor-sat until 4:00am. The weather finally cleared on the third day and we enjoyed the perfect weather again.

At the dock on Swans Island we met two couples who were there on vacation. Guess where they were from? Friendswood, Texas (a Houston suburb). One couple kept their boat at Marina Del Sol in Kemah. The next day a cruising couple stopped by the boat. Guess where they were from? Kemah, Texas. It seems unbelievable to meet so many Texas folks, but it happens.

Anchorages before returning to Mackerel Cove: NE Harbor, Rogue Island, Cutler, Shorey Cove, Trafton Island. All these will be covered in future updates.

Next Port: Northeast Harbor (Maine Part 3)